You know what no one tells you when you get pregnant with your first child? How hard it is going to be when you two fight. Let me tell you, Little Man and I fight alot. Don't get me wrong, I adore my son. I love him beyond anything in this world. When he smiles and looks at me with his giant chocolate colored eyes and eyelashes any girl would kill to have makes my heart positively soar. He is the black sheep of our children, but he is the apple of his mother's eye. Someday, some girl is going to have a problem with how much of a mamma's boy he is, but I can deal with that later. The problem now is that he is too much like myself. While I can see all the good things about myself in him, I see all my flaws as well. I want so badly for my son to be a better person than I that it leads to some awful arguments between us.
I see in him the debilitating shyness I always endured. Except, whereas I would shutdown emotionally and hide when I felt "cornered" by other people, he reacts with aggression. I cannot tell you how many times Mr. Fluffy and I have been called to the school because he hit another student. I see the temper that I inherited from my own father in him. Both my father and I are quick to anger, though we don't usually hurt anyone physically. I try very hard to be a good example for him, to show him how to effectively deal with his anger so he doesn't hurt anyone else and even put him in counseling. I see in him the same way that I react to something that seems insurmountable. When I feel overwhelmed I usually break down and rebel against it. He does the same thing.
I want my son to be a better person than me. I see in him the ability to be better and do better than me. This is where many of our arguments start.
This week has been a test of my ability to cope with someone so similar to myself. Last weekend my son decided that he wanted to fight in Amtgard. Mr. Fluffy and I set down two rules. He wanted Little Man to keep up on his chores, I wanted one week without him getting in trouble at school. The first day at school, he gets his phone (it's for emergencies only) taken up at school, because instead of listening to his teacher he decided that his phone was more interesting and took it out of his backpack and had it in his desk. We told him that he would have to earn back his phone since I have to pay them to return it to me. I was willing to let that slide as to the getting in trouble at school rule. What was his reaction when we told him all this? He immediately told us how unfair we were being and then stoutly refused to do any chores at all all week long. I let his father deal with the chore issue because I just wasn't up to arguing about it. Then yesterday, I got a call from his teacher informing me that the rebellion had continued at school. She said that all week long, my son had only completed one assignment of his homework and schoolwork. Feeling like a failure of a mother for trusting my eleven year old to not lie to me and not hovering over him every minute until he had finished his homework, I resolutely told her to send everything he didn't get done that day home and I would make sure he got every bit of it done. Needless to say he was not very happy with me. I then proceeded to call my mother and inform her that she needed the kids there this weekend or she was going to end up without a daughter.
This morning we both got up and eyeballed each other. Who would be the first to make a move? Who was going to bring up this weekend first (I hadn't informed him at this point he was spending it at grandma's house)? Then the sword to my heart was delivered with these words "I'm really really looking forward to fighting on the field this weekend mom!" How do I deal with that? So I slowly looked at him and said "You are going to Grandma's this weekend with the other two." All hell broke loose. The tears came from both of us and the claims of how unfair it all was tore my heart apart. I knew that if I backed down for one minute I would fall apart and he would never learn the lesson I was trying to teach him. Eventually he stormed off to his room and cried to his brother about their cruel, cruel mother. I patiently waited until I couldn't hear anymore sorrowful pleas of understanding and instead heard them giggling. I called him back downstairs. He slowly walked down and gave me that look that said he was pretty sure I was going to send him to a remote island. I calmly asked him if he understood why he was being denied the privilege of getting to go out his weekend and if he understood that it wasn't anyone's fault but his own. He said he did realize that it was his fault he was in trouble, he shouldn't have played with his phone and he understood how important his schoolwork is. You see, he wants to be a game designer when he grows up (squee!) and he is smart enough to do so. I also believe that with his proclivity to be alone it would be a career that would suit him perfectly. We hugged, we cried a little more and then I sent him on his way to school. I know this won't be our last fight as it certainly wasn't our first. What I do know is that as much as it hurts for us to fight, I can't back down because I am making him a better person than I am and someday all the tears and hurt feelings will pay off. In the meantime, all I can do is stand my ground while making sure he knows I love him.